Right: Alamosa senior Samuel Bilderbeck (10) intently stares at Pagosa Springs senior Kain Lucero (5) in the first half. The Mean Moose held Lucero to just seven points.
Courier Sports Editor
ALAMOSA—The No. 8 ranked Alamosa Mean Moose had an explosive second half as they stunned the No. 2 ranked Pagosa Springs Pirates 45-35 on Friday night here in front of a packed gym at Alamosa High School.
These rankings are based upon Colorado Preps and Denver Post, CHSAA's official rankings.
Pagosa Springs, who would have slid into the No. 1 spot with a win because No. 1 ranked Kent Denver was defeated by Shining Mountain on Tuesday, are now sitting in second place in the Intermountain League with an 11-2 overall record and a 2-1 conference record.
According to the MaxPrep's and Freeman basketball rankings, the Pirates were ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, and it did include Monday's Kent Denver loss.
The Mean Moose, who now hold a 9-game winning streak, are sitting atop the league with an 11-3 overall record and a perfect 3-0 IML record.
“It’s a win that we had circled on the board from day one, after last season they beat us three times and we thought we were a better team than what we showed last year,” said Alamosa Head Coach Brandon Brubacher. “For us to come out and get the first league win against them was big.”
Alamosa used 18 free throw attempts in the second half including 14 in the fourth quarter, to help them defeat the Pirates. The Moose outscored Pagosa Springs 28-17 in the second half with 15 of those points being free throws. The Moose built up a 7-point lead and despite their efforts, the Pirates could not break through and make the gap any closer.
Junior Ryan Martinez scored a team high 13 points on the day, all coming in the second half, including hitting 6-of-8 free throws.
“They were critical, you know you always have to hit free throws, sometimes you don’t always shoot your best in the first half,” said Martinez after the contest. “Usually we are a good shooting team in the second half when it comes to free throws”
One of the main things that helped the Mean Moose get the win was the ability to hold senior Kain Lucero, who entered the game averaging 21.1 points per game including 28 points and six 3-pointers when the Pirates defeated Centauri 64-39 on January 19th, to just seven points. His previous season-low was 12 points.
An aggressive, man-to-man defense, led by senior Samuel Bilderbeck helped keep a lid on Lucero’s shooting attempts.
“We have some athletic kids; we have some young kids that are aggressive. Sam really took it upon himself and wanted that challenge,” explained Brubacher. “He did a really good job. He’s an explosive athlete, a state champion trackster and his length and explosiveness were able to keep him contained.”
In the opening quarter, Alamosa capitalized on two 3-pointers, one from sophomore Cody Garcia and one from senior Zach Meyer, to help them take a 10-9 lead after the first. In the second quarter, Pagosa Springs used four points from senior Dean Hampton to help them out score Alamosa 9-7 to take an 18-17 lead into the break.
As a team, the Pirates hit 13-of-32 (40.6 percent) from the field including 1-of-8 (12.5 percent) from beyond the arch. They were only able to hit 8-of-17 (47.1 percent) of their free throws and nab 27 rebounds. They balanced that out with 19 turnovers and 23 personal fouls.
Zachariah Griego was the Pirate’s leading scorer with 10 points while Dean Hampton was behind Lucero with six points. Garek Erskine scored four points. Griego was the team’s rebounding leader with seven.
Alamosa hit 13-of-34 (38.2 percent) of their field goal attempts, including 4-of-11 (36.4 percent) from 3-point land. They shot a strong 78.9 percent (15-of-19) from the charity stripe while also collecting 27 rebounds. They committed 21 turnovers and 17 personal fouls on the night.
Behind Martinez’s 13 points was sophomore Cody Garcia with eight. Sophomore Ethan Caton and Bilderbeck each scored six points while Bailey Garcia and Zach Meyer each scored five. Josh Cody added two points.
Meyer did lead the team with eight rebounds on the night.
“All the way around our depth was stronger, we had stronger players coming off the bench,” said Brubacher. “Even though we are young, we have some good players and that’s good news for us now and hopefully in the future.”
The Moose will be back in IML action tomorrow when they travel to Bayfield. The Pirates will host the Pirates of Monte Vista on Saturday night.
“Their win-loss record is not pretty,” said Brubacher of Saturday’s opponent. “Most of their losses are all by less than 10 points. They compete in every game, even though they are having a tough time winning them. Last year we went over there expecting to beat them and they beat us. We know that feeling. We talked about it a little bit this week, hopefully we will screw our heads on right for it.”
No. 6 Pagosa Springs bests Alamosa
The girls’ game was a closer game than expected in the early going as the Mean Moose stepped up their defense, however, the Pirates played a dominate second half and won the game 49-32.
Alamosa was the first team to score in the game as freshman Brooke Trujillo found herself under the bucket for a score with just over five minutes remaining in the opening quarter. The intense man-to-man Moose defense held the Pirates without a bucket for three and a half minutes before sophomore Payton Shahan broke the scoreboard with a bucket of her own.
The Moose did not stop their pressure as they once again kept the Pirates from scoring until the 1:20 point of the first quarter when junior Anissa Lucero scored 3-pointer and junior Taylor Strohecker hit a jumper of her own to close out the first quarter with a 7-2 lead.
After allowing four points by Pagosa Springs to open the second quarter, Alamosa, led by Trujillo, went on a 6-0 run to close the gap to 11-8. Strohecker countered by scoring eight of the team’s 16 second quarter points to help them take a 23-10 halftime lead.
Senior Blake Faucett’s four points in the third quarter could not help the Alamosa offset an additional eight points by Strohecker as the Pirates outscored Alamosa 15-5 in the quarter and they led 38-15 entering the final quarter.
The Moose offense came alive in the fourth quarter as four different players got involved in the scoring including juniors Marissa Manzanares and Nicole Broyles, who each scored six in the period. The Moose did outscore Pagosa Springs 17-11 in the quarter.
In the game, Alamosa made 12-of-40 (30 percent) of their shots from the field while hitting 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) of their free throw attempts. They were able to corral 35 rebounds but they committed 18 personal fouls and 25 turnovers.
Broyles and Manzanares were the team scoring leaders with eight points each while both Trujillo and Faucett scored six points each. Tolley wrapped up the scoring with four points.
Broyles led the team in rebounds with nine while also making three strong blocks.
For the Pirates, Strohecker led all scorers with 20 points while Shahan scored 10 points. Junior Emily Bryant was the scored eight points, while Lucero scored six. Freshman Madison Lewis rounded out the scorers with five points.
As a team, Pagosa Springs connected on 20-of-26 (55.6 percent) of their shots from the field while they hit 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from the free throw line. The had 22 turnovers and committed 14 personal fouls while collecting 23 rebounds.
Alamosa, who fell to 5-9 overall and 1-2 in the Intermountain League will only have 18 hours to rest as they will be in Bayfield to take on the Wolverines on Saturday.
The Pirates improved to 11-2 overall and 2-1 in the IML. They will be back in action on Saturday when they return home to host a game for the first time in six weeks. They will host the Monte Vista Pirates, who were idle on Friday night.